R.O.B. (ロボット, Robot) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4. After initially being leaked on August 19th, 2014 as part of the ESRB leak, his return to the series was officially announced on SSB4's official website on October 9th, 2014, during which Ganondorf was also announced.
R.O.B. is currently ranked 36th out of 55 on the tier list, placing him in the D tier. This is a moderate drop from his placement in Brawl, where he was ranked 18th out of 38. R.O.B.'s boasts a strong zoning game and recovery: Robo Beam and Gyro are chargeable, long-ranged projectiles, while Robo Burner is versatile; covers impressive overall distance; and is complimented by his much faster air speed.
R.O.B. also possesses a strong air game, thanks to all but one of his aerials having disjointed hitboxes, alongside a capable grab game. Despite being a heavyweight, R.O.B.'s overall mobility is also respectable. Notably, R.O.B.'s once poor KO potential has been significantly improved, thanks to receiving a number of strong KOing options.
However, R.O.B.'s ground game lacks range compared to his air game. This is most obvious with his arm-based attacks, especially in regard to his overall grab range, which is now the shortest ranged in the game. While it is still strong, R.O.B.'s zoning game has also been somewhat toned down, as Robo Beam is slower and Gyro deals significantly less damage. R.O.B. is also susceptible to combos because of his heavy weight and large size. Lastly, his newfound KOing options are hindered by noticeable amounts of start-up lag.
Overall, R.O.B. has become somewhat more viable since Brawl, thanks to him largely retaining his strengths and having noticeably improved KO potential; yet, the larger competition present and many of the tools the new characters possess harm R.O.B more than they did in Brawl, thus resulting in his lower tier position relative to the cast. To reflect him becoming stronger as a character, he has achieved overall average tournament results, and has gained a number of dedicated players to his credit.
How to unlock
After completing one of the two methods, R.O.B. must then be defeated on PictoChat 2.
After completing one of the two methods, R.O.B. must then be defeated on Wrecking Crew.
R.O.B. is the tenth heaviest character in the game, yet he possesses respectable overall mobility in spite of his weight class. This is thanks to his average walking and dashing speeds; above-average air, falling and fast falling speeds; slow air acceleration; high traction, jump and double jump; and low gravity. Altogether, these attributes allow R.O.B. to outmaneuver some of his fellow heavyweights; make him almost as mobile as a middleweight; and grant him better jumping prowess than most characters of either weight class.
Like in Brawl, R.O.B. is a zoning-oriented character with very useful projectiles to keep his opponents at bay. Robo Beam enables him to attack from considerable distance, and becomes the noticeably stronger Super Robo Beam when it is left idle for 14.3 seconds. While Robo Beam interrupts opponents faster, Super Robo Beam deals more damage and has higher knockback growth. Gyro is an auto-chargeable projectile that becomes an item when fired. Compared to Robo Beam, it has a more favorable angle for disrupting opponents, while also being more manipulable as a projectile and having greater KOing potential. Thanks to R.O.B.'s item throws being among the strongest in the game, Gyro is also very useful when smash thrown as an item.
Aside from his offensive prowess with projectiles, R.O.B. also does not have issues against projectiles, courtesy of Arm Rotor's ability to reflect them with greater strength than they initially had. In addition to its reflection ability, Arm Rotor now boasts KO potential, thanks to its finishing hit having significantly higher knockback growth.
R.O.B.'s air game is also strong, thanks to the excellent and disjointed ranges of all but one of his aerials. Neutral aerial has large, disjointed hitboxes that make it a reliable combo starter at low to medium percentages when SHFF'd, as well as a useful spacing option. Up aerial is one of R.O.B.'s best moves overall, thanks to its usefulness in harassing airborne opponents by either juggling or KOing them. Back and down aerials are R.O.B.'s most damaging aerials when sweetspotted, and have large hitboxes like neutral aerial. However, they also boast specific strengths: the former has recovery potential thanks to it propelling R.O.B. forward slightly, whereas the latter is a meteor smash. Lastly, forward aerial is arguably R.O.B.'s least useful aerial because of its hitbox having much shorter range and not being disjointed. However, it is R.O.B.'s fastest aerial, which makes it reliable for spacing, especially when SHFF'd, as well as edge-guarding.
Unlike in Brawl, R.O.B. now boasts respectable KO potential. Like his up aerial, back aerial, up throw and Arm Rotor, R.O.B.'s smash attacks now boast KO potential, thanks to being buffed in various ways. Forward smash's sweetspot deals slightly more damage and higher knockback. Although forward smash's other hitboxes deal less damage, they have been re-positioned farther outward, which improves its range. Up smash's sweetspot and down smash also deal more damage and, like forward smash, have had their hitboxes tweaked for the better: up smash now has hitboxes on R.O.B.'s arms that launch the opponent into its thruster hitboxes, whereas down smash is now a semi-spike.
R.O.B.'s grab game has also improved. Forward and back throws are still limited in regard to utility, but are nevertheless decent for spacing and setting up edge-guards. In comparison, R.O.B.'s up and down throws are much more useful. Up throw is his most damaging throw; a viable KOing option, especially when boosted by rage; and can even be used for combos at low percentages. In comparison, down throw deals respectable damage, and is a reliable combo starter into his up aerial from 0% to medium percentages.
Although R.O.B. possesses a number of useful traits, he also has some noteworthy shortcomings. Despite his KO potential's drastic improvements, landing his KOing options can still be problematic because of them being laggy and/or having unimpressive ranges. The latter trait is particularly noticeable in regard to R.O.B.'s arm-based attacks, most of which have hitboxes that have either become smaller and/or tweaked for the worse. For example, his grab game is hindered by his overall grab range now being the shortest in the game because of his much smaller grabboxes, whereas his up tilt has drastically less utility because of its adjusted hitboxes.
In addition to R.O.B.'s hitbox issues, his hurtbox also hinders him, as it has become larger since Brawl. When coupled with his faster falling speed, he is much more susceptible to combo-oriented characters, such as Luigi and Zero Suit Samus. This is further compounded by his aerials' inability to reliably break combos: neutral and down aerials are too slow, forward and up aerials only hit in front of and above R.O.B., respectively, and back aerial has both slow start-up and only hits behind him.
While R.O.B.'s zoning game remains his greatest strength, the universal nerf to projectile camping has somewhat toned it down. Gyro, in particular, has been the most adversely affected of his projectiles: in addition to retaining its susceptibility to being stolen, a fired Gyro deals drastically less damage and covers less range. The removal of glide tossing also significantly hinders its approach potential. Robo Beam's nerfs are not as severe in comparison, but are nevertheless noticeable: it now deals slightly less damage, and both it and Super Robo Beam travel slower. As a a result of these nerfs, R.O.B. now has a more difficult time dealing with most characters that have better projectiles (such as Sheik and Diddy Kong); attacks that counteract his own projectiles (such as Fox and Falco); or both (such as Villager).
R.O.B.'s custom moves can alleviate many of his weaknesses. Wide Angle Beam, true to its name, can be aimed in a much wider arc, which enables R.O.B. to catch aerial opponents easily. However, it deals slightly less damage. Infinite Robo Beam, also true to its name, can be shot infinitely. This allows R.O.B. to use his zoning game constantly and defend himself. However, it also deals less damage, cannot ricochet, and Super Robo Beam needs to charge for longer. Reflector Arm acts like a traditional reflector, having a higher reflection multiplier and longer duration. However, R.O.B. will not move when using it, preventing him from pressuring the opponent.
Backward Arm Rotor has a shorter duration, but is a very effective defensive option, as it moves R.O.B. backward, and comes out much faster (contrary to what its description suggests). High-Speed Burner has less fuel, but allows R.O.B. to recover more easily due to its increased aerial movement. Robo Rocket functions like a traditional recovery move, launching R.O.B. upwards, and can even meteor smash. However, it cannot be used in bursts; covers less horizontal distance; and its meteor smash is weak. Fire Gyro deals more damage, but covers less distance when fired. Slip Gyro slides across the stage, making it more predictable, but trips opponents when the Gyro hits them, giving R.O.B. access to many follow-ups.
Overall, R.O.B. is a defensive character that still possesses a strong zoning game, but now wields improved close-range offense. While R.O.B. now has to use close quarters combat more frequently because of his playstyle now being less reliant on his projectiles, he can now effectively KO opponents without having to rack up an outstanding amount of damage. As a result, he has become a more potent character than he was in Brawl and has some dedicated and noteworthy mains to his credit, such as Holy, Mister Eric and 8BitMan.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. Brawl
R.O.B. has received both buffs and nerfs in the transition from Brawl to SSB4 but was considerably nerfed overall. The most prominent buff was to his KO potential; many of his KOing options in Brawl have become more powerful and/or slightly easier to land, while other moves have been strengthened to the point of possessing KO potential, such as his up aerial and down smash. R.O.B. has also seen some benefits from the changes to Smash 4's mechanics as the weakening of SDI improves the reliability of his multi-hit moves and the changes to hitstun canceling and DI have improved his combo potential. R.O.B. also benefits from the introduction of rage as it further improves his KO power and his solid recovery and heavy weight allow him to build up a high amount of rage.
R.O.B. also received some significant nerfs, however. His powerful zoning game has been hampered as his projectiles have seen some noticeable downgrades. Robo Beam travels significantly slower while Gyro is much weaker when fully charged and its firing rate is slower. R.O.B. was also one of the characters who was hindered the most by the removal of glide tossing as it significantly hinders his approach with Gyros. This makes approaching more important, as R.O.B.'s camping and defensive game was significantly toned down. R.O.B. is a larger target and a fair amount of his moves have reduced range making him an even easier target to hit. To further compound this, R.O.B. is no longer a heavy floaty instead having above average falling speed and gravity. While this makes it easier for him to land, this significantly increases his vulnerability to combos and it worsens his aerial game and recovery. R.O.B.'s overall frame data has been nerfed as many of his attacks have increased startup lag, shorter durations, increased ending lag or all three. R.O.B.'s aerial game has also been toned down. R.O.B.'s short hop is significantly lower which greatly reduces his aerial output and his forward and back aerials have increased landing lag with the later also having a much worse auto-cancel window now. His up and down aerials also have noticeably worse auto-cancel windows. Neutral aerial is weaker in exchange for having more combo potential, forward aerial is weaker and has increased ending lag, back aerial is drastically laggier while possessing many sourspots, up aerial deals much less damage (although it connects more reliably and the final hit is stronger) and down aerial is weaker. While R.O.B. has greater KO power, his KO moves have seen downgrades making them harder to land as many of them are noticeably laggier and some of them mainly forward smash and back aerial now have significantly weaker sourspots making them more difficult to land. His recovery was also nerfed as while his air speed is considerably faster, Robo Burner travels slower and covers less distance while his aforementioned increased falling speed and slower back aerial further hinder his recovery.
Overall, while R.O.B.'s KO power is greater, it does not make up for his worse zoning game combined with his worse frame data, aerial game and recovery. R.O.B. is largely forced to engage in a mix of zoning and close quarters combat in order to score KOs and his worse frame data, reduced range on multiple moves, larger size and increased susceptibility to combos do not help this matter. The changes to Smash 4's mechanics also do not benefit him as much as some other characters as the changes to hitstun canceling is very much a double edged sword for him and he has seen some notably hindrances mainly from the removal of glide tossing. R.O.B. does not even benefit from having a better matchup spread as while he has an easier time against some of the characters who gave him a difficult time in Brawl such as Meta Knight, King Dedede, Falco and Olimar due to their severe nerfs, this cannot be said for the entire cast and he has a very difficult time against Cloud, and Bayonetta. As a result, R.O.B. is considerably worse than in Brawl.
Like Mario and Pit, R.O.B. has received a very small number of direct changes from game updates. Update 1.0.4's changes to vectoring indirectly buffed him by enabling his Beep Boop combo (Up-Throw -> Up-Air) to function past low percentages, and even as a KO combo. However, update 1.0.6 notably decreased the knockback of R.O.B.'s up throw. This hindered its KO potential to the point that it now KOs roughly 20% later; previously, it was the strongest up throw in the game, and the second strongest throw of any kind after Ness' back throw.
Despite this, up throw remains a viable KOing option, especially on platforms. Its lower knockback has also granted it combo potential at low percentages; when coupled with its launching angle, its combos are also more varied and less susceptible to directional influence compared to down throw's. As a result, up throw can now be used to conserve the freshness of both down throw and up aerial for later combo and KO attempts, respectively.
Update 1.1.1's increase to shieldstun indirectly nerfed R.O.B.: in addition to making him easier to punish out of shield because of his fastest moves having low damage outputs, it worsened his already unimpressive out of shield game. Lastly, update 1.1.4 increased the size of R.O.B.'s hurtbox and decreased his tripping stance's invincibility frames by standardizing it.
Although updates 1.1.3 to 1.1.6 notably nerfed some of R.O.B.'s more difficult matchups, such as Bayonetta, Cloud, Diddy Kong, Sheik and Zero Suit Samus, they nevertheless remain challenging. On a related note, these updates have also made some of R.O.B.'s other matchups less favorable, most notably Lucina, Marth and Mewtwo. Due to remaining relatively static throughout SSB4's lifespan, as well as most of the cast becoming more viable via game updates, R.O.B. is less effective than he was during the initial release of SSB4.
Technical changelist 1.1.4
In competitive play
Tier placement and history
Thanks to his potent zoning and grab games, R.O.B. was initially considered a high-tier character during SSB4's release, similarly to initial perceptions of him during the early days of Brawl's metagame. However, after update 1.0.6 nerfed his up throw's power, his reputation declined to the point that he was perceived as a mid-tier character. Nevertheless, R.O.B.'s representation in competitive play remains decent, while the good results he has achieved thanks to the likes of 8BitMan, Holy, Mister Eric, OCEAN and Raffi-X resulted in him being ranked 20th on the first tier list.
However, other characters like Donkey Kong, Lucario and, most notably, Toon Link, have achieved much better results than R.O.B. To further compound this, R.O.B. has become rarer in competitive play due to having unfavorable matchups against all but one of the DLC characters. This decline in popularity and results would end up with R.O.B. being ranked 28th on the second tier list, then to 33rd on the third tier list (this drop is notable for being the third highest between the second and third tier lists), and finally to 36th on the fourth and current tier list.
In Event Matches